I’ve always wanted to run. I have this image of myself as some kind of Artemis, virgin huntress, sprinting lightly and lithely through the woods, the SP bounding gracefully at my heels, at one with the wind.
And I desperately need a new string to my fitness bow now I’ve lost the gym, yoga and my Wednesday Pilates and Zumba. Don't ask - I'm in mourning.
Running is the ultimate low-maintenance sport – just stick on a pair of shoes (or stay barefoot?) and go for it. No kit, no classes and – wayhay! – no fees. Plus every runner I know has a truly fabulous physique – lean as beans. Okay, so I’m a realist and I ain’t ever gonna look like Jessica Ennis but, seriously, you just don’t see chubby runners, do you?
Anyhow. My attempts at running have, so far, met with dismal failure. I start off just fine but it all swiftly falls apart. I wreck my knees or my ankles or both and end up out of action for weeks.
‘You’re doing it all wrong,’ said my pal Trish, uber-fitness instructor and mad-keen runner. ‘You go hell for leather from zero, no wonder you knacker yourself.’ The words ‘you bloody idiot’ were unspoken but were written loud and clear in her expression.
‘If you want to run without injuring yourself, you have to start off really really slowly.’
Huh? I don’t do really slowly very well. When it comes to fitness, I’m a bit all or nothing. ‘I know what you’re thinking,’ said Trish. ‘But, trust me. Anyone can run. It’s just how you do it.’
|Aim high, huh?|
Seems that the way to start is to do one minute jogging followed by one minute walking – repeat as necessary for about half an hour. Do it three times a week, with rest days in between and gradually increase the length of the jogging bits until it's all jogging and no walking.
‘And that’s it?’
‘That’s it,’ said Trish. ‘We’ll start tomorrow.’
‘Absolutely. By the end of six weeks you’ll be able to run for half an hour without stopping at all.’
‘You start training for a half-marathon.’
‘Oh piss off!’
But the challenge was there; the glove had been thrown down. And then a lovely PR I know said that her client SportsShoes.com were offering a pair of running shoes for testing. Fate. It had to be Fate, right?
So there we were this morning, running round Dulverton. Four of us with looks of intense fear on our faces with Trish herding us like a mega keen border collie. And, you know what? It was fine. And we came back to the river and did an hour of kettlebells in the bloody freezing cold and now I feel – sort of springy. Like I’ve had a shower under a waterfall or something.
Now then. I just have to pick out my shoes. What you reckon?
|Nice colour combo, huh?|
|A bit pink...|
Or something completely different?
Oh, and if you fancy joining me in this madness, we could spur one another one. How about it?